The gap between house prices in England and those in the rest of the UK has grown significantly wider over the past year, according to recent statistics. In the year leading up to the end of January, England’s house prices grew at a significantly faster rate than those of other UK territories, resulting in a wider disparity than ever before.
Following a slow period last summer, house prices picked up across most of the UK. However, according to the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), no other part of the country even came close to the levels of growth seen in England.
Over the full twelve month period, Wales was the only territory that saw overall shrinkage of house prices. Property values in Wales fell by a total of 0.3%. Prices in Scotland achieved growth of 0.1%, and those in Northern Ireland grew fully eight times faster with an increase of 0.8%.
However, all of these pale in comparison to the levels of growth seen in England. The average English property price grew more than ten times as fast as that of Northern Ireland over the twelve months to the end of January, increasing by 8.6% overall.
According to the data released by the ONS, London and the South East played a key role in driving the increase in English house prices. London prices grew by 10.8% over the year leading up to the end of January, and the average property in the surrounding South East region grew in value by 11.7%. When London and the South East – which commonly experience above-trend growth due to London’s central role in the UK economy – are excluded, English house prices grew by 5.1% over this period. Though somewhat more modest, this is still a rate of growth that eclipses Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The fastest-growing region outside the South East was the East of England, which saw prices grow by 9.8%.
Various sources and surveys record regular data on the movement of the UK’s housing market. The ONS – the UK’s official statistical body and therefore one of the most highly-regarded sources, uses data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders Regulated Mortgages Survey. As such, it analyses data from property purchases made with mortgages from many of the country’s lenders, but excludes cash purchases.
The widening of the gap and the rate of England’s price increases compared to the rest of the UK have raised concerns about the affordability of property for ordinary buyers. Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb said: “It’s time for the government to get serious, and invest in the genuinely affordable homes that we desperately need.”
Dragonfly Property Finance managing director Mark Posniak, meanwhile, commented that London is likely to continue being “a formidable bastion” of the property market, but that its prices have become “an insurmountable obstacle” for a large portion of buyers.